At what temple do you worship? Do you worship at the temple of your body, giving its care and feeding the priority; or at the temple of sports, preferring its rituals; or at the temple of money, making all else subordinate to its pursuit; or do you worship at the temple of the Lord?
A fourth grade Sunday School teacher at my parish used to ask his students to list the Top 10 False Gods in our neighborhood. The children readily came up with the list. If children can spot our allegiances so easily, why is it sometimes so hard for us to recognize and admit to them, to reflect on what we truly treasure and act upon it.
In today’s readings, Jesus sees the all-too-human tendency to want worldly profits from what is meant to be holy and he rages against the hypocrisy and greed, against the disrespect shown to God and all believers. St. Paul reminds us that we are not our own, but God’s and our bodies the temple of the Holy Spirit to be used in God’s service. We are called to respect the holiness within ourselves and within God’s church, which is the whole people of God.
As we gather in sacred buildings to worship the One before whom we must put no other gods, let us reflect on Christ’s cleansing action in today’s Gospel and ask that he sweep clean whatever, in our own hearts, is an obstacle to true worship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
—Pam Coster is Executive Director of Charis Ministries. Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s nationwide, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality. www.charisministries.org